**Lessons from the Twelve Dancing Princesses ballet from Central Ballet Theatre of Greeneville:
Lesson One: Which Chair Will You Sit In?
Imagine three chairs. Ordinary Chairs. Side by Side.
In the book of Joshua, Moses has died, and God appoints Joshua to lead the people. "Be strong and very courageous, for you shall cause the people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or the left, that you may have good success where ever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it." (Joshua 1:6-8)
The first chair is Joshua's seat. It is Caleb's seat. It is the seat of the whole-hearted believer trusting in God. Those who sit in the first seat are not perfect. They sin. They fall short of God's best for their life. And yet, they fully trust in God's Word. They have put on the full armor of God. They are quick to confess and repent. Quick to pray. They rest in the peace of God's promises and walk in His confidence. Those in the first chair have a close personal relationship with the Lord. Those seated in the first chair experience God and His presence first hand. "Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, and had known all the work that the Lord did for Israel." (Joshua 24:31)
Now turn the page. There you will find the book of Judges, a sad story where God’s people are worshiping idols instead of the one true God. The people no longer give thought to the Word of God or His commands. They do as the pagan nations around them do. The people live in a state of fear, confusion, and defeat. They trust in the schemes of man. "And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that He had done for Israel" (Judges 2:10). This generation sits in the third chair. Joshua and Caleb's grandchildren totally rejected God and placed their trust in false gods around them. In the span of one generation, the nation went from a first-chair position of knowing God to a third-chair position of "no" God.
How does this happen?
You will find the answer in the second chair, the chair of compromise. Those in the second chair speak (and often act) as those of the first chair, but it is just an act. Their heart doubts God, and they hold onto second-hand faith. When things are going well, they coast spiritually, but when trouble comes, they look to the world for help. These people turn to the right and left, leaving the straight path before them. Those in the second chair work to appear Godly, but inwardly they do not trust the Lord. To be in the second chair is to be double-minded and unstable. There is no true joy there, only temporary relief that the secret of complacency has remained hidden one more day.
Yet those around can see the difference, as the influence is obvious. They see that the life lived does not match the words spoken. They will eventually move from the second chair to the third, all the while saying, “At least I am not a hypocrite…my word and my actions are consistent. I will live my life my own way. Who is this God that I should listen to Him?”
Believers, stay in the first chair. If you have moved to the second chair, now is the time to return to the first. If you find yourself in the third chair, come home. The good news is that we can return to the first chair today. “Seek the Lord with your whole heart. Meditate on His word day and night. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to do all that the Lord commanded us to do. Seek the Lord while he may be found. (The Three Chairs by Brian Sparks Nov 16, 2017)
In CBT’s ballet, the twelve princesses sit in the third chair. Adelaide moved from first to second chair when she danced with Samothraki, the King of the Underworld. The daughters are arrogant and prideful and look only to themselves and what they desire. They care not for the kingdom which they will inherit. These princesses represent the twelve tribes of Judah. Haughtiness is when someone in his own eyes becomes the center of the universe and everything revolves around himself. A haughty person does not even consider the will of God nor consult the Scriptures. He has become his own God, self-centered, and thinks nothing he does is immoral or wrong as long as it is what he desires. Only when the princesses realize their mother’s folly and consequences of her actions do they come to the Lord and seek His help.
Proverbs 16:18: Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 21:2-4: Every way of a man (or woman) is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart. To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin.
Romans 13:11-12: Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore, let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
~The picture models are Brianna Doolittle and Isabella Norton. Photos by Nathan Colmer
Lesson Two: Walking Among Giants
Will you fall, or will you stand?
In The Twelve Dancing Princesses, Samothraki, King of the Underworld, represents a giant, the evil that stands against God’s call to His People. Samothraki is a great sorcerer who wants more power and riches and is on the prowl. He does not represent Satan, but he does represent a great sinner who denies the righteousness and holiness of the God Most High, similar to the giants in the Bible.
Lothair II and Caleb will both be fighting the giant. They encourage each other to push forward to God’s calling upon their lives, to be strong and courageous, and to stand up for that which is good and upright and just. We must surround ourselves with other strong believers in order to stand against the enemy on the prowl, an enemy whose goal it is to discourage, disrupt, and destroy.
We must be armed with Scripture to help us live a Godly life in a darkened world.
Philippians 3:14: I press on toward the goal to win the prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.
James 1:22, 25: I am a doer of the Word and blessed in my actions.
1 Peter 1:23: I am God’s child for I am born again of the incorruptible seed of the Word of God, which lives and abides forever.
1 Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 2:5: I have the mind of Christ.
Philippians 4:7: I have the peace of God that passes all understanding.
1 John 4:4: I have the Greater One living in me; greater is He Who is in me than he who is in the world.
Colossians 2:10: I am complete in Him Who is the Head of all principality and power.
Lesson Three: Walking in Forgiveness
In the ballet, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, Queen Adelaide recognizes her need for help and repents of her sin. Because she danced with Samothraki in the underworld, now he wants the princess daughters for brides for his sons. She asks forgiveness from King Lothair II, but he does not know how to react. He is hurt and angry, feeling betrayed. Caleb steps in and places his covering of righteousness on Adelaide to wash her sin away, but she is too hurt and selfcondemning to realize that she is now clean and forgiven. It is when her eldest daughter shows her the truth that she releases herself to the freedom of God’s care and love.
If you are going through a period of doubting whether God can really forgive you for a sin that you are incredibly ashamed of, let these Bible verses help you:
Psalm 32: 1-2: Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.
1 John 1:9: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Isaiah 1:18: Come now, let us settle the matter, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
Isaiah 43:25: I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.
1 Corinthians 6:19: I am the temple of the Holy Spirit; I am not my own.
2 Corinthians 5:17: I am a new creature in Christ.
1 Peter 2:9: I show forth the praises of God Who has called me out of darkness into His marvelous light.
2 Timothy 1:7: For God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, love, and a sound mind.
Colossians 1:11: I am strengthened with all might according to His glorious power.
Lesson Four: The Armor of God
“Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the enemy.”
Ephesians 6:13 is the theme verse for CBT’s 2018 ballet. “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”
In The Twelve Dancing Princesses, Caleb is given the armor of God by the wise fairy, Afreda. He clothes himself in God’s full armor that he might stand against evil and be victorious. Caleb thinks, “As I stand against the enemy, I am clothed in God’s full armor, covered with the blood of my Redeemer in whom resides all power and authority.”
See the website My Father’s Business and read “Praying Through a Difficult Situation.”
Do you ever hear whispers in your ear that you’re not good enough, that you can’t achieve what is necessary, that you will never have enough, that bad is the only thing you will ever have? Those whispers are from the devil and his cohorts. They want to turn us away from our faith in Jesus and pull us toward the third chair. Every day we must put on our armor so that we will not listen to Satan’s lies.
Read the entire section of Ephesians 6:10 - 20 so that you know what Scripture says about the full armor of God.
Know these truths:
I am submitted to God, and the devil flees from me because I resist him in the Name of Jesus (James 4:7).
I am called of God to be the voice of His praise (Psalm 66:8; 2 Timothy 1:9).
I am more than a conqueror through Him Who loves me (Romans 8:37).
I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ unto good works (Ephesians 2:10).
I can stop the fiery darts of the enemy with my shield of faith (Ephesians 6:16).
I can do all things through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:13).
I am holy and without blame before Him (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:16).
I am alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:5). I am free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2).
I am far from oppression, and fear does not come near me (Isaiah 54:14).
I am born of God, and the evil one does not touch me (1 John 5:18)
Lesson Five: Choosing Righteousness
In CBT’s ballet, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, Queen Adelaide’s sin creates the need for Lothair II and Caleb to fight Samothraki to protect the princess daughters. Our story could have had a bad ending where Lothair II dies, but because it’s a fairy tale, we choose to have him live.
Brucie is the guardian fairy; she and her silver fairies are the separation between the outer- and under-worlds. All must pass through Brucie and the silver fairies to proceed into either realm, representing the boundaries God places around us for our protection through the Holy Spirit.
God speaks through prophets — men and women God has chosen to deliver the message God gives them. In the ballet, Afreda is the wise fairy. She acts as the role of a prophetess, telling Caleb that the twelve princesses will return to the palace. She instructs Caleb as to what he must do. Afreda reminds him of the promises of God. ”And I have put my word in your mouth and covered you in the shadow of my hand, establishing the heavens and laying the foundations of the earth, and saying to Zion, 'you are my people’" (Isaiah 51:16).
There are always consequences to sin. Scripture instructs us to not look at it, to not linger by it. Flee from the presence of sin in honor of our pure and holy God. To paraphrase Alexander Pope: “Sin is a monster of such hideous face, one look is enough to frighten. Yet if seen too often, familiar becomes the face.” First we endure, then sympathize, then embrace.
God gives each person the freedom to choose to obey or rebel. Our choice for righteousness greatly blesses those in our circle of influence. Likewise, the effects of sin echo in the lives of those around us, possibly for generations. Our boundaries are there to protect us from sinning.
Deal viciously with sin. "Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay” —Ravi Zaccharias. Put on the full armor of God. Stand firm in the liberty that Christ has set you free; Be not entangled again in the bondage of sin (Galatians 5:1).
1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 ESV: Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast to what is good.
2 Chronicle 20:20 NKJV: Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the LORD your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.